Decades after detectives save her life, woman joins the NYPD

NEW YORK (PIX11) — An NYPD officer reunited with two hero cops who saved her life more than 27 years ago. 

The actions of Detectives Eric Ocasio and Charles Claudio inspired officer Dennise Gomez to become a police officer herself. 

It was July 25, 1996, when Ocasio and Claudio noticed gasoline leaking from a car. 

The two young officers tried to stop the driver when they heard a loud noise and saw flames coming from the car. They sprang into action and pulled out Gomez, who was just 2 years old at the time, along with her mother and baby brother. 

Gomez says she does not remember much from that day, but Ocasio does. 

“The car engulfed in flames. The flames were coming from underneath, not from the hood,” Ocasio recalled. “I couldn’t get the door open; I broke the window with my radio. Charlie was able to save the two children sitting in the rear.”  

The family’s ordeal made the news across the city and is a memory the two detectives will never forget.  

Their actions inspired Gomez, who wrote about them in her police academy essay. 

On Friday, Gomez was also given Ocasio’s badge during a special reunion and ceremony. 

“It means a lot to me, it’s an honor,” Gomez said. 

Gomez joined the NYPD in 2022 and is assigned to the 90th Precinct, where she hopes to continue doing great police work, just like Ocasio and Claudio. 

“They saved our lives one time, all superheroes don’t have capes,” Gomez added.